JavaScript is ActionScript

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Nov. 20th, 2006 | 09:52 pm
mood: nostalgic nostalgic

I just realised that I’m one of the first JavaScript 2 programmers in the world. Only a slightly different flavour: ActionScript 3.

I started writing AS3 back in December 2004, almost two years ago. Like others in my team, I’ve seen the language evolve. In the beginning, we didn’t have imports, so we’d “include” any .as files we needed. Compiling the entire Flex framework would take anywhere between 2 and 10 minutes (I’m serious!). There were lots of bugs in the compiler and the VM; things we took for granted in languages like C++ and Java were still “under construction” in this new world.

Had I taken notes of my early AS3 experiences, I could have easily created a very interesting blog. Of course, I was too busy coding.

On November 7, 2006, Adobe donated the ActionScript 3 virtual machine—the platform I’ve been programming to all this while—to the Mozilla Foundation. The project, called Tamarin, will form the basis of JavaScript 2 support in future versions of Firefox (and many other projects). This is so cool in so many ways. At the core, JavaScript and ActionScript are exactly the same language (ECMAScript); it totally makes sense for them to use the same VM. Furthermore, writing a new VM is clearly a lot of work: why waste time doing it again?

ActionScript, JavaScript, now we’re one. I’m so proud of Adobe.